Jill Girardi is a woman of horror that is near and dear to my heart (Cliché, I know, but sometimes a cliché is accurate!). She’s not just an awesome horror writer, but she fully supports and lifts up other women who have chosen to write in this historically male dominated genre. Jill was the first person to believe in me enough to give me the opportunity to transition from writer to published writer. When someone helps another person on that level, helping them believe that dreams actually can come true—well, nothing beats that. Jill Girardi is proof that one person really can make a difference.
Jill Girardi is the founder of Kandisha Press, an independent horror publisher which supports women horror writers around the world. She is also the author of multiple short stories, which feature her own brand of dark humor, beasties, and out of this world, nefarious creatures of her own design. Jill is also the best selling, award-nominated author of the Hantu Macabre series.
Jill Girardi is well known and loved among the horror community at large. She is extremely talented and a truly kind person. I am honored to have worked with her and hope to continue to do so. Her Twitter handle is @jill_girardi
Don’t Break the Oath is the fourth women of horror anthology put forth by Kandisha Press. Look no further for your summer read, guys! There is a lot of awesome horror within these pages written by many seasoned authors along with a few debuts, including yours truly. My little ol’ witch story is included and is the origin story for my most favorite character I’ve ever created, Jehenne de Brigue. Okay, I didn’t totally create her, she can be found amongst the wealth of historical knowledge regarding the witch trials in Europe which persecuted innocent women so many centuries ago.
“The Trial of Jehenne de Brigue” synopsis: (Spoiler Alert!)
The “Trial of Jehenne de Brigue” is the origin story of an herbalist healer who is destined to become a powerful leader among the Italian witches, known as Strega. She would have been lost in obscurity if it weren’t for the ruthless persecution of women by the Catholic church in 14th century France, but with a little help from a son of perdition, she would not only survive those dark times, but eventually become The Last Strega.
Revised ending to “The Trial of Jehenne de Brigue”:
“Stop crying,” Jehenne cooed, smiling at the hysterical woman.
Haus then appeared between them just as the executioner began lighting the pyre. Macette screamed. Haus ignored her and placed his hands on Jehenne’s shoulders. Haus smiled down at Jehenne. She looked up at the demon and returned his smile.
Macette screeched, “But Haussibut, my lord, my love, why do you only take her?! Why have you forsaken me?!”
“She has proved her loyalty to me.”
“But she betrayed us by confessing!”
“No, you set the wheels in motion by betraying Jehenne to your husband! You sealed your fate!” And with that, Haus vanished, taking Jehenne with him as the pyre burned.
So, I am totally excited about my first officially published horror story! It’s so cool to see my name on a cover like this, well pen name, Lol. But the initials, C.C., do stand for my real name at least. 🙂 My short story is included along with the writings of much more accomplished Women of Horror than myself, so I am proud and honored to be included. I hope to one day achieve as much success of many of the women included in this anthology.
The synopsis for, “The Trial of Jehenne de Brigue”:
The “Trial of Jehenne de Brigue” is the story of an herbalist healer who lives in 14th century France during a time when women who indulged in medical pursuits were highly scrutinized by society and the Catholic church. It is a story of betrayal, revenge, and a woman who is willing to fight until her dying breath to have the right to live as she chooses.
The One That Got Away is a wonderful romp through the minds of women of horror! This third anthology by Kandisha Press is loaded with stories for every horror pallet imaginable. It hits the ground running with the very first story, “Heavy Metal Coffin” by Amira Krista Calvo and never lets the reader up for air throughout. Be prepared to miss a few days of work, for this one. Maybe plan ahead and take a vacation! 🙂
I enjoyed all the stories, but some of my favorites were, “The Incident on Asteroid 4 Pandora” by Stevie Kopas, “The Lady Crow” by Lucy Rose, “Rippers” by Ellie Douglas, and as always, Carmen Baca’s work is spellbinding in “Atla’s Journey”. I really loved, “The Last Thread” by Paula R.C. Readman; such an unexpected twist with that one! And “Dear Meat” by J Snow; dystopian terror at it’s best! Catherine McCarthy hits the mark again with, “Lure”! “The Letter” by Lydia Prime is crazy creative and dark humor at its best! Last but not least, “Should Have Gone to Vegas” by Janine Pipe is loaded with delicious, visceral, horrific gore!
This is the best anthology yet from Kandisha Press! This anthology is loaded with every horror lover’s dreams: monsters, dystopian futures, the undead and so much more! Much like real life, nothing is as seems; in the suburbs, on fishing trips, in space and everywhere in between!
The One That Got Away is another 5 star offering by Kandisha Press! Make sure your lights are on and doors are locked when you read it!
I’m back on track with both reading and writing. My current read above, The One That Got Away, is another winner published by Kandisha Press! It’s the third installment of horror anthologies written by women. I’m loving it and will write a full review when I’m finished.
So far it’s loaded with delectable monsters; an evil goddess, an alien monster, robotics gone terribly wrong and so much more! But sometimes, man is the worst monster of all. Be careful who you make this statement to guys, “We never said we were exclusive. I’m sorry if you thought we were.” Yikes!
I’m also hard at work on a new horror short, “The Light”. It’s a stand alone story, but will also act as the next chapter of, Darkest Timeline.
The idea for the story was inspired by this photo:
Happy reading and writing everyone! Hope everyone is staying well and safe!
Bio: Trading in a police badge and then classroom, Janine is a full-time Splatterpunk Award nominated writer, whilst also being a mum, wife and Disney addict. Influenced by the works of King from a young age, she likes to shock readers with violence and scare them with monsters – both mythical and man-made. When she’s not killing people off, she likes to chew the fat with other authors – reviewing books and conducting interviews for her podcast and YouTube channel. You’ll likely find her devouring work by Glenn Rolfe, Hunter Shea and Tim Meyer. Her biggest fan, beta reader, editor and financier is her loving husband. He just wants her to write a story about werewolves that wear shoes on their hands …
Guys! I’m doing my first author interview with Janine Pipe, my kindred spirit of horror!
Thank you for being my first interview victim, Janine! Here goes…first question:
CC: I’m sure you’ve always been drawn to writing as many of us are, but at what point did you decide to pursue writing with publication in mind?
Janine: A couple of years ago I was made redundant due to budget cuts. My daughter was school age so I suddenly had some time on my hands. I had been blogging in the travel genre for a while but my passion for fiction had always been horror. I started writing a few bits and pieces, just the kind of stuff that I would want to read and fully immersed myself in the community to learn about how to sub, who to sub to etc. which was vital and as with most people, I had rather a lot of rejections. My first ever proper acceptance was with Kandisha of course and the rest as they say is history. It is still nerve-wracking though for sure, each and every time something gets released as you are putting yourself out there. But that’s the game.
CC: Why the horror genre? What specifically drew you to it?
Janine: Horror and dark, psychological thrillers have always been my bag. Right from a young age, I was drawn to the more macabre side of things and had a fascination/deep terror of all things supernatural. To this day ghost stories both excite and scare the crap out of me. As a teen I loved the cat and mouse type fun of Point Horror and the character driven small town narrative of King. I also read a lot of crime books as I always wanted to be a police officer. Lore in particular has always really interested me too, I love the origins of certain legends and growing up near Glastonbury and Stonehenge was just the icing on the cake.
CC: Who are your greatest influences in the horror genre?
Janine: It would be remiss of me not to say King as the genesis of my love of this genre and his work like Carrie, Salem’s Lot and IT have had a great impact on me. But more recently, I am for sure inspired/influenced by my own 3 favourite authors – Glenn Rolfe, Hunter Shea and Tim Meyer. Also, women like Caroline Kepnes and Kenzie Jennings and although not best known for her fictional writing, Sadie Hartmann for her passion and spark.
CC: Okay, here’s the really cliché question, where do your ideas come from?
Janine: Sometimes I’ll just be hit with a spontaneous idea and that it almost always somewhere inconvenient like in the shower, lol. Then it’s like some sort of fever dream as I desperately try to write it all down. Other times, I get ideas from things I have read or seen. Not copying obviously, but taking the initial idea and growing it, changing it, making it my own. An example being The Special by James Newman and Mark Steensland – that is a story ultimately about sex addition and a dude that fucks a box. I turned my version into teen boys and a hole in a tree but it definitely originated from that. I actually sent James my story and he liked it. Thank god 😉
CC: Once you have an idea, how do you flesh out a story?
Janine: So, I’m a total pantster, I’ll have like an egg of an idea and then I’ll just write and let the rest come organically. Sometimes even I have no idea where we are headed until said egg hatches and I’m like woah I did not see that coming haha. One of the things that I enjoy writing and developing is banter between my characters and I have had some lovely feedback about how realistic it is, especially between male characters. I’m not sure how I can delve into the teen boy mind quite so well but it seems to work!
CC: You have your first book coming out, could you tell us a little about it?
Janine: Sure. Whilst I am super proud of all of my anthology contributions, I really wanted to work on something of my own and something longer. Cue two WIPs that will hopefully see the light of day some time, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I realised that what I enjoy writing most is flash and shorts. I had quite a few already that I had stored waiting for the right anthology to come along and I just thought to myself, why don’t you put them altogether and see what you got? Alongside two of my favourites which we already published – Footsteps which is my Splatterpunk Award nominated work and They from Glenn Rolfe’s Alien Agenda Sampler, I had another twelve stories that were ready. I wrote three more, two which would be considered extreme/splatterpunk. There are seventeen stories in total, varying in sub-genre from creature features to gothic, to haunted houses to urban legends. They are mainly set in the 80s/90s and are tied together with an overseeing narrator who has happened upon the collection along with a mixtape which contains the songs which are the titles of the stories and three more relating to the others. I created a Spotify playlist to go along with it and honestly because I love the 80s, it was just so much fun to litter it with pop culture references.
CC: You’re also an editor and publicist for Kandisha Press, could you tell us a little about that as well?
Janine: Jill was the very first person who accepted one of my shorts for the Kandisha Women of Horror Anthology Volume 2 Graveyard Smash. After working with her for that, we became friends and as well as contributing to Volume 3, she asked if I would help out with some publicity too. The next logical step was to become an editor and we have some amazing plans already for 2022/23 and beyond. Jill is one of my very best friends and working with her is like a dream come true. We have the same hopes and aspirations for Kandisha and between us, we hope to amplify women in horror and become a place for more of us to have a voice.
CC: As you know, I loved your story, “The Invitation” which was featured in the second anthology, Graveyard Smash, put forth by Kandisha Press. It seems that you and I both have a love for the TV show, Supernatural, because I felt a real vibe from that show in your story. Am I right?
Janine: 100% lol. I didn’t actively channel Sam and Dean when I wrote that but I guess it’s always in my subconscious as it is for sure my favourite TV show. One of the things I love most about SPN, asides from the great characters, is the humour and a lot of my work shows that. Even if I’m trying to write a genuinely creepy piece, I usually end up breaking the tension calling someone an ass-hat or the like. I can’t help it. I love my horror to be funny too. I have another story in TTT which is a definite nod to Dean. Now if someone can just ask Jensen if he wants a copy …
CC: What advice would you have for writers like myself that are just starting out?
Janine: The best advice I can give is keep at it and just write as much as you can. Once you have words on a page, you can edit, change, play with it. You can’t do that with a blank space. Read as much as possible too. Support other indies but also read some of the classics. There is a reason people like King, Ketchum, Keene and Laymon are considered the Masters. Learn from them. Books like King’s On Writing and Tim Waggoner’s Writing in the Dark are essential too to hone your craft. Also you need a super thick skin. Everyone gets one star reviews, everyone gets negative comments because not every reader will like your voice, your style. I roll that dice often with my more extreme stories. Some people dig that, others really, really don’t like it and will tell you. And it hurts because that’s your baby but you have to just accept it, learn from it and move on. As has been seen over and over, never ever retaliate as it is their right to have an opinion. Be kind, civil and respect reviewers. They matter. Which shouldn’t need to be said, we should all just always be civil all the time.
CC: What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
Janine: Characters. I love creating these people. Sometimes they are a mixture of real-life friends or an homage someone fictional e.g. I love Richie from IT. I love the camaraderie of Sam and Dean. I love the shit the kids give each other in again IT and more recently, Malignant Summer from Tim Meyer. Building relationships with my creations is one of the best things about writing 100%.
CC: Thank you for being my first ever author interview! Any parting words of wisdom for me and my readers?
Janine: Thank YOU for taking the time to talk with me and letting me be your first victim, I mean guest. Ha. Words of wisdom from me? That’ll be hard. The best advice I was ever given and I live by it, is write what you would read. That way it feels authentic in my opinion. If I tried to write in one of the sub-genres I don’t like, my heart wouldn’t be in it so it wouldn’t feel so real. That’s not always the case of course and as you become more prolific you are likely able to put yourself into any character, setting, plot with ease. But when you’re starting out, writing something you know and enjoy makes it far easier. This is why a lot of my stories involve creatures, cryptids and cops. It’s what I know.
This is the second horror anthology I’ve read from Kandisha Press and I’m about to start the third. This publisher with Jill Girardi at the helm are experts in finding the best horror stories I’ve ever laid eyes on and they are all written by women! Jill Girardi noticed that most stories in horror anthologies are written by men, so she found her niche in publishing, supporting and promoting women horror writers. I just love a good horror story and I don’t care who writes it, so I have been thrilled with the talent that is compiled in these anthologies put forth by Kandisha Press!
The reader is immediately sucked in by the first story, Holes, by R.A. Busby. It’s a page turner and draws you helplessly into the entire anthology. The stories that follow provide tales of ghosts, djinn (one of my favorite mythical creatures), zombies, a mummy, ancient gods, etc… supplying something for all horror tastes! There’s even one with monster hunters, and I can’t list the title because it gives away the big twist in the story. I was particularly drawn to that one because, yes, that’s right, (say it together, my small bevy of blog followers) I love Supernatural! (Or I guess you guys would say, she loves Supernatural!)
I give 5 stars to this anthology and to every author! As with the first Kandisha Press anthology, Under Her Black Wings, I almost lost my day job because it was so difficult to stop reading the exciting, suspenseful and entertaining stories between its covers and get a little shut eye! Not to mention the lingering, haunted feeling one feels when reading great horror!
Here’s the link for Graveyard Smash:
And for Under Her Black Wings:
And for the new anthology, The One That Got Away, that came out just in time for Women in Horror Month:
So Stephen King was right when he said, writers have to read; or is right I guess, because he probably still says it. I would like to add, that writers need to watch TV too. There is so much great writing on television now and I get so many ideas there. My latest short story idea came to me from both reading, and binge watching on Netflix.
So I just finished reading this little ditty and it’s awesome by the way! I’ll be writing a review very soon. Kandisha Press has outdone itself with the horror anthologies that they publish. Here’s the review I did for the first one, Under Her Black Wings. Their third anthology, The One That Got Away, is coming out on February 1, 2021:
These collections of horror tales, all written by women, are some of the best I’ve ever read. Jill Girardi is chief honcho at Kandisha Press and she and her crew are sweeping the internet and the world with thrilling tales of terror!
So my newest idea for a tale of the macabre comes from a combination of reading and TV watching as I said. For those who follow my blog (all 12 of you!), you know about my fascination with the television show, Supernatural:
No, I’m not an obsessed fan girl, although, I like watching pretty people doing cool stuff as much as the next guy. I really love the writing and creativity on this show and the humor inserted amongst all the serious, scary stuff is what I love the most about it. Anyway, so I was watching Season 7, Episode 3, “The Girl Next Door”, and it’s one of the episodes where they leave something dangling. Dean kills a kitsune who happens to be a mom, and her ten year old son sees him do it. For some unknown reason, Dean lets him live and of course the boy vows vengeance. Well of course that character never shows up again in the series. (SPOILER ALERT-if you haven’t finished the Supernatural series yet.) They must have forgotten about him because he should have been the one to kill Dean. Anyhoo, I filed this kid away in the back of my brain.
The next day, I’m reading, Graveyard Smash again, and I’ve gotten to the story, “The Invitation” by Janine Pipe, and all of a sudden as I’m reading it the kid pops to the front of my mind. So long story short, between that short story and the TV episode, it totally clicked in my mind. I grabbed my handy dandy spiral notebook (I like to write by hand first) and I began the story. I love it when a plan comes together!
So coming soon, my review of, Graveyard Smash and my newest horror tale, “Monster”! And read, everybody, read!! Oh yeah, and watch TV!
Thank you to all who submitted to our open call for Volume 3 of our Women of Horror Anthology series. We were so overwhelmed with submissions that we had to make some difficult choices. Below is the list of authors we selected for Volume 3, as well as a partial list of acceptances for Volumes 4, 5 and maybe even 6!
We hope to release Volume 3 in time for Women in Horror Month, February 2021.
The following are the authors we chose for VOLUME THREE:
CARMEN BACA – Atla’s Journey USHASI SEN BASU – Nightcrawler DEMI-LOUISE BLACKBURN – Call Of The Tide ASHLEY BURNS – Simba Of The Suburbs R.A. BUSBY – Kiss AMIRA KRISTA CALVO – Heavy Metal Coffin DAWN DeBRAAL – Invasive Species SHAWNNA DERESCH – Little Sally Ann ELLIE DOUGLAS – Rippers FAITH PIERCE – Bodiless AMY GRECH – Cold Comfort K.C. GRIFANT – Minor Malfunction